Mulatas and Artists between the Avant-Garde and the Popular in the Republic
This chapter studies in the interweaving of popular and fine art forms during the Republican era, focusing on artwork of popular magazine covers and avant-garde painters of the period, with particular analysis of the work of several well-known (and several less so) painters and illustrators. In the chapter, the two formal approaches are connected by the deployment of the mulata in many of the artworks and illustrations. These artworks, fine and popular, were crucial in shaping consensus through vernacular imagery and well known national symbols, particularly (but not exclusively) the mulata. Both graphic and fine artists were shaped by international travel and residence abroad, introducing them to international stylistic currents against and through which they generated images that resonated with national identity. Not only did artists travel, but tourism continued to rise, bring foreign tastes, further shaping culture on the island. In addition to international connections, artists were at the vanguard of important political activism against corrupt government.
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